One of the most common questions prospective garden office buyers have is ‘are they warm in winter?’, well if you choose a well insulated and double glazed design and include a source of heating you can be assured it will be.
Not all garden office deigns include heating
You need to check that your choice of garden office design includes some form of heating. Some suppliers choose to leaving heating off the specification claiming that their designs don’t need it.
The argument is that their designs are highly insulated and double glazed so are naturally warm. In our near 20 year experience of work with, and using a garden office to work from there have always been days in the depths of winter when we have been very pleased we had heating that we could switch on.
Whilst you can always buy a heater and plug it in, retro fit heating options are never as successful as systems designed to suit the building, and our advice to you would be to make sure your garden office has heating from day one.
- Convector heater
- Oil filled radiator
- Infra red heating
- Under floor heating
- Air conditioning
- Central heating
- Wood burners
- Timers, thermostats and remote controls
Electric convector heaters are one of the most common forms of garden office heating. They offer fairly instant heat and units fitted with a timer can be set to come on before you enter the building and switch off when you leave.
Modern convector heaters are narrow units, they normally have a grid on the top and sides from which the warm air blows out. Because the air blows out you need to keep the area around the heater clear of obstruction. Some designs fit to the wall, other designs have feet to sit on the floor which offers more flexibility on positioning.
The heat from convector heaters is thought be some to dry the air with prolonged use, and they do have a slight hum.
Another popular option in garden office design are oil filled radiators, which are normally freestanding and mounted on wheels so you can easily move them around the room.
These heaters look like old style radiators with large fins, they are filled with oil which heats up to give background heat. These units can be controlled by a timer and you can set minimum and maximum temperatures for the room to maintain your ideal temperature.
Where convector and oil filled radiators provide convection heat which heats the whole room, there is another way of heating a garden office – radiant heat. With radiant heat only the people in the room are heated.
Infra red heating is a form of radiant heating. Infra red heaters are quite thin and discreet units, in fact some have the appearance of mirrors. These units can either be fitted on the wall or discreetly on the ceiling of the room.
Infra red heating is a fast and energy efficient form of heating because its only warming people not furniture etc, but has the downside that you really need to be in line with the heater to benefit most so isn’t ideal if you are moving around the room a lot.
Under floor heating is a popular and desirable option for garden office buyers. Because the heating is under the floor you have maximum flexibility over the positioning of furniture.
The most common type of under floor heating used is heated matting which is suitable for fixing on timber sub floors and under the different types of floor covering popular in garden office design.
Under floor heating is a premium option for garden office heating, and if its something that you think will work for you, needs to be specified at the design stage as it is difficult to fit at a later date. Like other forms of heating you can control the system by setting limits for the temperature, or by setting the timer so the heating comes on at different times of day.
Although air conditioning is controversial particularly in an eco friendly construction form like garden offices, it’s worth considering as it can produce a year round solution to heating and cooling a garden office.
Air conditioning works by taking warm air from within the building and replacing it with cool air, you can set the desired temperature for your garden office and an air conditioning unit will maintain it all year round.
Air conditioning also offers health benefits as it filters the air removing pollen and pollution making it an ideal system for asthma and hay fever sufferers.
Free standing air conditioning units are available but they are rather cumbersome and have ducting that has to go out of a window, most units used in garden offices consist of a unit positioned high on the wall that is linked to a condenser unit situated outside.
Air conditioning units use considerable energy and coolants which aren’t great for the environment, to ensure efficiency of the unit doors and windows need to be closed – this takes away one of the delights of a garden office, that of connecting the indoor outdoor space by having the doors open!
Its not uncommon for us to hear about bespoke garden office designs which have central heating systems. These are normally large buildings and have either been near enough to the house to connect to the main central heating system, or they have had their own boiler installed.
This is an expensive option, so therefore not common, but does allow you to heat the room using conventional radiators.
It is possible to install a wood burner in a garden office, and it would make a wonderful focal point in the room, the installation of a wood burner needs to be undertaken by professionals and comply with Building Regulations.
Whilst a wood burner would look great, compared to other forms of heating a wood burner is expensive to install in a garden office, and it could be difficult to control the heat given off in smaller buildings. Wood burners are not instant heat sources and you have the work involved in cleaning the stove.
To ensure energy efficiency and so that you are warm when you want to be, you need to ensure that your chosen heating system has a thermostat fitted, this will allow you to control the temperature in the room, in many cases you can set minimum and maximum temperatures for your office so that the heating kicks in and turns itself off at set points.
Another way to control your garden office heating is to have a timer control, this is useful in the winter as you can set the heating to switch on and warm the room before you arrive for work, and switch off as you leave. This means you will not be wasting energy or money when you’re not in the building.
Its pretty standard practice to have a timer fitted to the offices heating, but some suppliers go a step further and provide ways of controlling the heating remotely. Some system have remote control units that allow you to switch the heating off from inside your house and control the temperature in the office. Other systems are more sophisticated and can be controlled by your smart phone, this will give you greater range of control and is quite a nifty feature for the tech lover!